Insurers, Regulators May Have Little Incentive to Constrain Rising ACA Premiums

As health insurers decide how to price their Affordable Care Act exchange plans for the 2024 plan year, inflation, COVID-related costs and Medicaid redeterminations are some of the major factors influencing their calculations, according to a new issue brief from the American Academy of Actuaries. Industry experts say that overall, gross premiums are likely to go up — but because few consumers will feel the impact on their net premiums thanks to expanded subsidies, insurers and regulators may not be driven to aggressively keep rates in check.

“I think the early read right now is the rate increases are going to be higher than last year,” says Fritz Busch, a principal and consulting actuary at Milliman who helped produce the report. In 2023, the average benchmark ACA exchange premium rose by 3.4%. “It’s going to vary by state, but you’re already seeing some [rate requests] well into the double digits — and some single as well — but I think, on average, it’s going to be higher.”

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Leslie Small

Leslie Small

Leslie has been reporting and editing in various journalism roles for nearly a decade. Most recently, she was the senior editor of FierceHealthPayer, an e-newsletter covering the health insurance industry. A graduate of Penn State University, she previously served in editing roles at newspapers in Pennsylvania, Virginia and Colorado.

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